RNC sues New York City over law to allow noncitizens to vote in local elections

Some, including members of the RNC, have wondered how the city's new voting measure could be constitutional

Updated: January 11, 2022 - 1:57pm

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The Republican National Committee says it has filed a lawsuit against New York City after new Mayor Eric Adams (D) failed to block a bill that will allow noncitizens to vote in local elections.

The bill, which officially became law on Sunday, will allow the more than 800,000 noncitizens who live in NYC the right to vote in local elections. The City Council approved the measure in December.

"I believe that New Yorkers should have a say in their government, which is why I have and will continue to support this important legislation. I look forward to bringing millions more into the democratic process," Adams told The New York Times. 

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel announced Monday that the Republican Party will challenge NYC's new law in court, calling it a threat to election integrity.

"American elections should be decided by American citizens," she said. "If Democrats can subvert elections this flagrantly in America’s largest city, they can do it anywhere. The RNC is suing to protect the integrity of our elections, and we stand ready to do the same wherever Democrats try to attack the basic security of your ballot."

The suit reads, "Plaintiffs seek a declaratory judgment that the Non-Citizen Voting Law is unconstitutional, violative of New York statutory law, and invalid, as well as an injunction permanently enjoining the Defendants, the Mayor and the New York City Board of Elections, from enforcing or implementing the law in any respect."

Expanding voting rights to noncitizens is a measure long-backed by New York Democrats, and Adams in particular. National Democrats will likely look to the example set in New York as they fight for so-called expanded voting rights across the nation.

"It’s important for the Democratic Party to look at New York City and see that when voting rights are being attacked, we are expanding voter participation," said Ydanis Rodriguez, an NYC Councilman, prior to the law's passage.